Reflecting on 10 Years of Building a Sustainable Business
by Kelly Perkins
Later this week, Spinster Sisters Co will be celebrating our 10th year in business. Can you believe that? When I think about the support we have received over the last 10 years it absolutely takes my breath away. Truthfully, I started this business by accident. I guess that is not entirely accurate, but I certainly never imagined when I first started, that my skincare products would be sold across the United States and internationally. From the moment I started the company in my basement, it was a labor of love. That labor of love often felt clumsy and I was kind of fumbling around trying to find my way. The pivot I made in 2019 toward natural & speciality grocery and conventional outlets was a huge leap of faith. It felt like a rebirth of the business and that is when the brand started to grow strategically. In a lot of ways we are still a start-up and I often feel the brand is only a few years old! It has been a journey and I continue to seek, strive, and grow everyday. Mistakes have been made, a global pandemic happened, supply chains have been disrupted, wars have ended and new ones have begun, climate change has accelerated, and yet we persist. Doubling down on our sustainable mission––– innovating, growing, and thriving.
When it became apparent to me that this company could actually be–––a company, I wanted to make sure that my personal values were threads that became woven into the fabric of what we do, each and every day. I believe in doing right for people, and doing right for our planet. I believe that companies can do the right thing, in all instances, and still be profitable. I believe that businesses can be a Force for Good™ and that as business owners, it is our responsibility to keep that triple bottom line in mind at all times.
Define success in your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live. — Anne Sweeney
Let’s be honest, skincare is a crowded space. There are big players that I believe are focused on one thing, and one thing only––profit. Human labor issues, clean ingredient issues, ethical sourcing issues, all be damned. Big change starts small. It is the smaller emerging brands that are doing the work of innovating, the work of being sustainable, the work of showing the world that there are better ways to do things. The work of doing things right. And let me be clear, doing right matters. I, personally, am proud to be on the better side of business, as an emerging brand.
At Spinster Sisters Co, we keep people and the planet at the forefront of our minds every day. We use 100% renewable wind and solar energy to power our Microsoapery. We choose clean, ethically sourced ingredients to consciously craft products. We choose premium, plant-based ingredients that nourish skin instead of harsh petroleum-based formulations. Our packaging is recyclable, often made with sustainable post-consumer materials, and when available we utilize biodegradable and compostable packaging.
To ensure we are practicing what we preach, we solidified our commitment to doing right by becoming a Public Benefit Corporation in 2021. In 2022, Spinster Sisters became a Certified B Corporation® using business as a force for good™. This certification confirms that our brand meets the highest standards of verified social & environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corp is the Gold Standard for companies doing good. Spinster Sisters prioritizes social and environmental values in all our business growth. This certification validates our business model and we look forward to building upon the work we've been doing to meet these standards.
We are also in the midst of becoming Climate Neutral Certified. Finally, we started off 2022 with a renewed mission of reducing plastic consumption, focusing on sustainability and consumer education and working towards being 100% plastic-free by 2024.
There are over 9 billion tons of plastic on our planet with less than 10% having been recycled. Each year, almost 9 million tons of that plastic lands in our waterways and oceans. Earthday.org recently published a report that said at the rate we are going, by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Please read that again. More plastic in the ocean than fish.
That is so beyond unacceptable to me, that in late 2021 we launched our new Free From innovation. This is a line of solid, water-free bars for face, body, and hair in plastic-free packaging. This collection features plant-based products that are free from plastic, free from water waste, and free from toxic ingredients, like parabens and phthalates. A typical body lotion is made of 70%+ water––imagine not having to pay for shipping water weight (and the associated environmental impact) around the country anymore and using higher quality, more concentrated skincare products that have not been diluted with unnecessary water.
The Free From line features a line up of Shampoo & Conditioner, Body Butter, Sugar Scrub, Deodorant and a minimal face care routine with our popular Face Cleanser and Face Serum all in zero-waste bar form. Each of these products are packaged in FSC Certified compostable paperboard boxes. As of March 2022, Spinster Sisters customers have helped us save over 50,000 plastic containers from landfills and over 2,000 gallons of water. Peace Out, Plastic!
With the launch of this Free From innovation, we have cultivated more national distribution growth for our brand and are excited to continue to engage with premium retailers in adding our plastic-free and water-free line to their skincare & body care sets. As customers continue to make conscious climate-first choices we are thrilled to bring our Free From line into more markets and households. Last week, we received commitments from 6 key retailers that have the potential to double our volume, and we are just getting started.
Spinster Sisters is at an exciting moment of brand growth and with our renewed mission of going plastic-free, we are firing on all cylinders––the energy and vibe amongst staff at our Microsoapery has everyone pumped! Our team is something that I am so thankful for every single day. The best advice I have ever received is to hire people that are smarter than me and I listened. Small, but mighty, our team has a combined 100+ years of experience in CPG, Operations, and Logistics.
Our future is bright and we could really use your support. The funding gap is significant for female-led companies and female founders. Male founders receive 2.5 times the amount of equity investment than female founders receive, yet Forbes published a study that says that female founders generate over twice as much revenue per dollar invested than men do.
Spinster Sisters Co. has always been focused on incorporating our consumers into our tribe. Over the course of the last decade, our loyal customers have made us what we are today and they deserve the opportunity to own a piece of our business. We are better together than we are apart, and we believe that every household should have access to premium, plant-based skincare & body care products that are good for people and the planet.
The playing field for investing needs to be leveled, with access to investment opportunities available to all, not just wealthy people. We launched our crowdfunding campaign on WeFunder, with a $100 minimum investment, so that anyone in our tribe can become a part of our team, and help us grow and thrive for years to come. For a $100 investment you can join our dream. We appreciate your investment. If you are unable to invest, can we count on you to share our campaign with friends, family, and your co-workers? The process for investing in Spinster Sisters is easy and obtainable. Take a minute and review the WeFunder campaign here.
In conjunction with our birthday celebration, we are launching a Peace for Ukraine campaign, where $2 of every purchase of travel sized Free From bars of Body Butter, Sugar Scrub or Deodorant bars, plus our special edition Peace for Ukraine soap, will be donated to Lifting Hands International for relief aid & refugee support. Shop the collection here.
Let's build this company together!
Kelly Perkins, CEO + Founder